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Independent Assessment of U.S. Government Efforts against Al-Qaeda

Julia McQuaidJonathan SchrodenPamela G. FaberP. Kathleen HammerbergAlexander PowellZack GoldDavid KnollWilliam Rosenau
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Section 1228 of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) states, “The Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, shall provide for the conduct of an independent assessment of the effectiveness of the United States’ efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al- Qaeda, including its affiliated groups, associated groups, and adherents since September 11, 2001.” The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict (ASD (SO/LIC)) asked CNA to conduct this independent assessment. Section 1228 specified that the independent assessment should include these topics:

  • An assessment of Al-Qaeda core’s current relationship with affiliated groups, associated groups, and adherents, and how it has changed over time.
  • An assessment of the current objectives, capabilities, and overall strategy of Al-Qaeda core, its affiliated groups, associated groups, and adherents, and how they have changed over time.
  • An assessment of the operational and organizational structure of Al-Qaeda core, its affiliated groups, associated groups, and adherents, and how it has changed over time.
  • An analysis of the activities that have proven to be most effective and least effective at disrupting and dismantling Al-Qaeda, its affiliated groups, associated groups, and adherents.
  • Recommendations for United States policy to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al-Qaeda, its affiliated groups, associated groups, and adherents.

The NDAA mandated that the results of this assessment be provided to select congressional committees via an unclassified report. This document fulfills that requirement and presents the results of CNA’s assessment of these topics. Of note, given the wide scope and long timeframe of these topics, we had to carefully bound our assessment approach. A list of specific scoping caveats can be found in the body of this report.

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited.

Details

  • Pages: 380
  • Document Number: DRM-2017-U-015710-2Rev
  • Publication Date: 10/25/2017
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